Strategic Housing Improvement Plan by Jeronohnson


									                     Strategic Housing Improvement Plan
                            Table 1: Fully Completed Tasks

Line    Audit Commission Recommendation                   Action                    By When
 1     1) Develop CBC-specific policies &        a) Carry out                Completed by officers
       plans to implement sub-regional           Homelessness Review         in August 2008 and
       strategies and meet local need            & Strategy                  approved by Council in
                                                                             September 2008.
 2                                               b) Review allocations       Reported to Strategic
                                                 scheme & housing            Housing Panel in April
                                                 register                    2009. Recommended
                                                                             to Executive in July
 3     2) Improve relationships with partner     a) establish Copeland       Formal nominations
       organisations to help achieve strategic   Homes/Home Group            agreement signed by
       housing objectives, including new         liaison to: negotiate       June 2009. CBC and
       provision.                                formal nomination           Home Housing Group
                                                 arrangements: explore       (inc Copeland Homes)
                                                 affordable housing          are members of the
                                                 opportunities: develop      Cumbria Choice Based
                                                 choice based lettings       Lettings project team
                                                                             with a projected “go
                                                                             live” date of October
                                                                             2010. Liaison with
                                                                             Home Group and other
                                                                             RSLs in the Borough is
                                                                             well established and
                                                                             schemes have been
                                                                             completed, are under
                                                                             construction or planned.
 4                                               b) Participate fully in     Ongoing participation
                                                 West Cumbria and            achieved throughout
                                                 Cumbria wide housing        2008/09
 5                                               c) Develop private          Landlords forum held 6
                                                 landlords forum             March 2009. To be
                                                                             held 6 monthly.
 6                                               d) Improve liaison with     Throughout 2008/09
                                                 Supporting People           CBC has been fully
                                                 Team and Primary Care       represented on all
                                                 Trust                       Supporting People
                                                                             bodies. The PCT is a
                                                                             member of the
                                                                             commissioning body –
                                                                             CBC is represented by
                                                                             the Housing Manager &
                                                                             Portfolio Holder

 7     3) Implement systems & structures to      a) create new staffing      New staff in post by
       ensure the Council is carrying            structure: train staff in   end October 2008.
       statutory duties in the private sector    HHSRS. Take                 Training completed
       under the Housing Act, 2004.              consistent enforcement      over following 6
                                                 action.                     months.
8                                               b) Develop effective      Licensing scheme
                                                HMO licensing scheme      established and 2
                                                                          HMOs licensed.
9    4) Update financial assistance policies    Assess and update as      New financial
     to strategically target private sector     part of private sector    assistance policy agreed
     renewal on housing and wider               strategy review.          by Council in
     regeneration objectives                    Targets revealed by       December 2008 and
                                                private sector stock      implemented from
                                                condition survey of       April 2009. Takes
                                                2007.                     account of private
                                                                          sector stock condition
                                                                          survey of 2007.
10   5) Take a client role in the delivery of   a) Review provision as    Completed July/August
     housing advice provision in the            part of homelessness      2008
     Borough                                    strategy review.
11                                              b) Negotiate service      Completed by April
                                                level agreements with     2009
                                                funded bodies
12                                              c) Review ability of      Review completed with
                                                other CBC services to     Benefits in winter 2009
                                                contribute to improved    and agreement signed
                                                advice co-ordination      off in June 2009.
13                                              d) Improve advice         Suite of housing advice
                                                leaflets, website and     leaflets published
                                                other information         January 2009. New
                                                sources. Provide better   housing element on
                                                information and advice    website completed
                                                on rehousing prospects    before April 2009.
14   6) Develop systems & structures to         a) Review approach in     Copeland was the first
     move towards a proactive                   light of Homelessness     LA in Cumbria to
     homelessness prevention approach:          Review &                  achieve the 50%
     reduce the use of temporary                Homelessness Strategy     reduction in the use of
     accommodation to achieve the gov’t         Action Plan of            temporary
     target of 50% by 2010 from the             2008/2013                 accommodation (by end
     baseline number at 31/12/2004.                                       2008). A homelessness
                                                                          prevention toolkit was
                                                                          introduced in 2008 and
                                                                          DCLG funding has
                                                                          contributed towards
                                                                          prevention initiatives.
                                                                          Discretionary Housing
                                                                          Payments have also
                                                                          been used to prevent or
                                                                          mitigate homelessness.
                                                                          In the 6 months ending
                                                                          April 2009 housing
                                                                          advice interventions
                                                                          have prevented 87 cases
                                                                          of homelessness and
                                                                          helped 85 others to find
                                                                          alternative housing.
15   7) Review Housing Team’s structure         a) New staffing           However, recruitment
     & resources & develop a permanent          structure approved in     and arrival in post of all
     establishment capable of meeting the       spring 2008 for both      new staff not achieved
     Council’s statutory requirements,          Homelessness/Housing      until end October 2008.
     developing and implementing housing       Options and Private
     strategies to meet local need and         Sector Renewal.
     deliver services to an acceptable
16   Develop a consistent corporate            a) CBC approach to          Strategic Housing Panel
     approach to the management of             complaints has been         began to receive reports
     complaints, including reporting to        reviewed and changes        of complaints January
     Councillors about learning from           introduced with effect      2009 (when their
     them.                                     from April 2009.            outcome is known).
17   Develop & display a comprehensive         Suite of customer           Series of leaflets on
     range of housing leaflets                 leaflets advice &           homelessness, housing
                                               information leaflets to     advice and housing
                                               be published.               options published in
                                                                           January 2009.
18   Develop clear service standards in        Housing service             Following
     housing, which are well publicised and    standards to be             consultation, including
     against which performance is              developed which will        with customers, service
     monitored.                                explain the service         standards were
                                               provided, how to access     determined and agreed
                                               the service, the            by Strategic Housing
                                               standards pertaining and    Panel in March 2009.
                                               how they will be            Subsequently published
                                               monitored and               in leaflet form and now
                                               complaints dealt with.      appearing on website.
19   Ensure corporate systems for dealing      Housing Services to         With the introduction of
     with key issues, such as budget setting   adhere to annual budget      the Capital Monitoring
     and financial management, service         building process and        Group from July 2009,
     planning and appraisals are adhered       monthly budget              Housing will be
     to in each service area and that robust   monitoring &                represented at revenue
     monitoring and management takes           management                  budget & capital
     place at the corporate centre to                                      programme monitoring.
     prevent non-compliance                                                Housing also
                                                                           participated in the
                                                                           budget building round
                                                                           held in 2008/09 for
                                                                           2009/10 and will
                                                                           participate in the next
                                                                           and subsequent rounds.
                                                                           This cell does not refer
                                                                           to other services.
20   Improve relationships between             Establish corporate         Strategic Housing Panel
     departments to exploit opportunities      working group to            of Councillors
     for joined up working and make best       support implementation      established in Spring
     use of expertise outside the housing      of this plan. Include       2008 but has been
     team to deliver housing objectives        housing priorities in       supported almost only
                                               service plans of relevant   by housing staff.
                                               internal services.          Corporate officers
                                                                           attendance reinstated in
                                                                           July 2009. Housing
                                                                           priorities included in
                                                                           Development Strategy
                                                                           Service Plan. But see
                                                                           line 4 of table 2.
21   Improve value for money and               Implement effective         The Trusteel contract
     performance management                    procurement of all          completed in February
                                               commissioned services       2009 was subjected to
                                                  and products including      effective client
                                                  a robust client role in      management
                                                  contract management         throughout. Effective
                                                                              procurement of the
                                                                              Kells Environmental
                                                                              Improvement Scheme
                                                                              was achieved by
                                                                              February 2009 and
                                                                              there is a strong client
                                                                              role in ongoing
                                                                              management of that
                                                                              contract. This also
                                                                              applied to Phase 1 of
                                                                              the Woodhouse
                                                                              Evolution project in
  22     Develop a clear corporate approach to    Ensure that Language        CBC bought fully into
         translation which meets local needs      Line translation service    the Language Line
                                                  is available at reception   service in July 09. We
                                                  and to customer-serving     have an account and are
                                                  staff in all departments    able to go live on its
                                                                              use. It is a risk to
                                                                              describe this as
                                                                              complete until all teams
                                                                              have been trained in
                                                                              usage – by end Oct 09.
  23     Develop CBC specific policies & plans    Produce CBC-specific        Draft to Strategic
         to implement sub-regional strategies     comprehensive action        Housing Panel in
         and meet local need                      plan to implement           August 09 and out for
                                                  Cumbria Housing             consultation with return
                                                  Strategy, 2009/2011 in      date in September 09
                                                  the Borough.

                           Table 2: Partially Completed Tasks

Line     Audit Commission Recommendation                  Action                     By When
  1                                              Develop older persons        Substantial progress
                                                 strategy                     made but further
                                                                              consultation necessary
                                                                              with partner agencies in
                                                                              the public & voluntary
                                                                              sector. To be completed
                                                                              & reported to Strategic
                                                                              Housing Panel by end
                                                                              October 2009.
  2                                              Developprivate sector        To be completed by end
                                                 strategy to comply with      August 2009.
                                                 Housing Act, 2004
  3      Improve relationships between           a) Develop service level     SLA signed off with
         departments to exploit opportunities    agreements (SLAs) with       Benefits in June 2009
         for joined up working and make best     internal services            but in practice was
         use of expertise outside the housing                                 developed 6 months
         team to deliver housing objectives                                   earlier. SLAs to be
                                                                              completed with
                                                                       Environmental Health
                                                                       and legal Services by
                                                                       end September 2009.
4   Report regularly to the Executive       Progress to be reported    While monthly reports
    and corporate team on performance       to Executive and           have been made to
    against the service/improvement plan    Corporate Team on a        Strategic Housing Panel
    and against a full set of performance   monthly basis, including   for the last twelve
    and cost indicators in housing until    spend against budgets      months, reports to
    the service has been reinspected        and key performance        Executive and Corporate
                                            indicators.                Team have been
                                                                       sporadic, and excluded
                                                                       cost indicators. This to
                                                                       be corrected by end
                                                                       August 2009.
    Ensure the new corporate access         See below                  See below
    strategy is robust enough to manage
    access to housing services and to
    develop a strategic corporate
    approach to customer care by
    addressing key issues
5   Develop a fully interactive corporate   Housing pages on           Housing pages almost
    website                                 corporate website to be    up to date and will be
                                            reviewed and updated       completed by end July
                                            with all new policies,     2009. Corporate
                                            strategies and             interactive website yet
                                            information.               to be introduced.
6   Develop transactional customer          Customer satisfaction      Private sector housing
    satisfaction surveys following key      surveys to be developed    surveys introduced & be
    housing processes and report to         for private sector         reported to August
    Councillors on lessons learned.         housing renewal and        2009meeting of
                                            homelessness/housing       Strategic Housing Panel.
                                            options functions.         Homelessness/Housing
                                                                       Options surveys to be
                                                                       introduced August 2009.
7   Further develop/implement existing      a) Develop and maintain    The current work done
    equality and diversity policies         a thorough corporate       on the draft older
                                            understanding of the       persons strategy and
                                            profile and needs of       anti-fuel poverty
                                            local people through       strategy is not enough to
                                            liaison with               meet the requirements of
                                            representative             this recommendation.
                                            community                  The gap to be addressed
                                            organisations and robust   by end September 2009.
8   Carry out and act on the findings of    a) Develop equality        Initial equality impact
    equality impact assessments in          impact assessments and     assessments done for
    housing                                 act on findings.           private sector renewal &
                                            b) Review existing         homelessness/housing
                                            research data to profile   options. Actions a) & b)
                                            differing housing needs    to be completed with
                                            across Borough.            action plan by end
                                            Examine needs of           September 09
                                            specific groups such as
                                            gypsies & travellers,
                                            where Cumbria wide
                                            research is available.
   9    Improve value for money and              Review existing             Partnership
        performance management                   partnership                 arrangements with RSLs
                                                 arrangements to             and others have been
                                                 improve value for           reviewed to ensure they
                                                 money.                      deliver service outcomes
                                                                             but value for money has
                                                                             not been specifically
   10                                            Develop effective           CBC to join purchasing
                                                 procurement practices       consortium in order to
                                                 for private sector          obtain discounts for
                                                 renewal & improvement       DFG works & services.
                                                 works, including            To join by end
                                                 partnerships.               September 2009.
   11   Develop a consistent corporate           Housing staff to be         A training proposal has
        approach to the management of            trained on using            been received. To be
        complaints                               complaints as a learning    delivered by end
                                                 & improvement               September 2009
   12   Improve value for money and              Tracking, benchmarking      A proposal has been
        performance management                   & reporting to staff &      accepted from
                                                 Councillors on corporate    consultants to undertake
                                                 & service costs             this work in a timeline
                                                                             of 20 days so will be
                                                                             completed before re-
                                                                             inspection in
   13   Develop a clear corporate approach       Use of telephone            To be introduced by
        to translation which meets local         interpretation offered in   mid-October 2009
        needs.                                   all leaflets and decision

                                Table 3: uncompleted tasks

Line    Audit Commission Recommendation                   Action                    Comments
   1    Further develop and implement            Understand the housing      Research has been done
        existing equality & diversity policies   needs of migrant            in the County, which we
                                                 workers                     will obtain by end Aug
   2    Carry out and act on the findings of     a) Liaise & consult with    To be undertaken by end
        equality impact assessments              representative              September 2009
                                                 community groups
                                                 b) Reflect diversity        To be undertaken after
                                                 issues in procurement       community liaison
                                                 tenders & contracts
   3    Improve relations with partner           Develop private             Landlords attending the
        organisations to help achieve            landlord accreditation      forum in March 2009
        strategic housing objectives             scheme                      showed no willingness
                                                                             to join such a scheme: to
                                                                             be raised again at next
                                                                             forum in October 2009.

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